There is a huge difference between being a user of technology, and mastering it’s potential.  Photography is such an example, and an example which is often the most difficult part of a workshop.  Allow me to explain:

Many people coming for a workshop have their own vision of what a workshop is, and what it will do for their photography.  It’s very common for someone to only want to learn where to put the settings, which menu items to select, and which buttons to push, so that when they aim their camera at something a great image results.  Basically they want someone to explain the manual to them.  They tell me “I’m not a professional.”  This is a silent code for “show me the buttons and menus please..”

 

Many people coming for a workshop have their own vision of what a workshop is, and what it will do for their photography.  It’s very common for someone to only want to learn where to put the settings, which menu items to select, and which buttons to push, so that when they aim their camera at something a great image results.  Basically they want someone to explain the manual to them.  They tell me “I’m not a professional.”  This is a silent code for “show me the buttons and menus please..”

Canon 1ds Mark II, 85mm F1.2L USM @F2 1/250th ISO 400 400

 

My vision of a workshop is to teach you photography.  I wish our cameras didn’t have buttons and menus, but they do. They’re a necessary part of controlling the camera, but they have little to do with “photography.”

There are no magic settings, and until technology provides a camera with artificial intelligence and a flare for art, the photographer will be needed.  Let us get rid of this silly notion of being a “professional” photographer.  Being a professional only means you’re getting paid to produce photographs.  To compete in the market you need to have the skills to consistently get the image(s) you’re being paid to capture.  For instance, it would behoove a professional wedding photographer to have the skills to cover an entire wedding and fill an album with technically correct and artistically pleasing compositions. 

 

There are no magic settings, and until technology provides a camera with artificial intelligence and a flare for art, the photographer will be needed.  Let us get rid of this silly notion of being a “professional” photographer.  Being a professional only means you’re getting paid to produce photographs.  To compete in the market you need to have the skills to consistently get the image(s) you’re being paid to capture.  For instance, it would behoove a professional wedding photographer to have the skills to cover an entire wedding and fill an album with technically correct and artistically pleasing compositions.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 85mm F1.2L USM  @F11  1/80th  ISO 400

 

Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.  More than a few times a couple selected my competition to save a bit, and ended up coming to me after the event to try and save the wedding photography.  Part of how I did this was to re-process the original photographers work and save what I could, part came from contacting the guests and asking if they’d mind donating their images to the cause.  Often the rank amateurs with point and shoot compacts came up with better images, allowing me to complete a pleasing wedding album.  Professional indeed!

 

Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.  More than a few times a couple selected my competition to save a bit, and ended up coming to me after the event to try and save the wedding photography.  Part of how I did this was to re-process the original photographers work and save what I could, part came from contacting the guests and asking if they’d mind donating their images to the cause.  Often the rank amateurs with point and shoot compacts came up with better images, allowing me to complete a pleasing wedding album.  Professional indeed!

Canon 1ds Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM @F8 1/60th 35mm ISO 400

 

When you come to one of my workshops I don’t see you as a professional or amateur.  I look at you as a potential photographer.  To become a photographer you’ll need to master the technology, AND develop artistically.  The process is the same for both amateurs and professionals.  We can’t learn everything in a single day, and besides, I don’t know everything if we could.  So the first thing I do is to find out what you do know, and then take that knowledge and start filling the holes until we have the basics covered.

 

When you come to one of my workshops I don’t see you as a professional or amateur.  I look at you as a potential photographer.  To become a photographer you’ll need to master the technology, AND develop artistically.  The process is the same for both amateurs and professionals.  We can’t learn everything in a single day, and besides, I don’t know everything if we could.  So the first thing I do is to find out what you do know, and then take that knowledge and start filling the holes until we have the basics covered.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM @F8 1/60th 24mm ISO 200

 

Once the basics are covered then we can start specializing in different scenes, or different types of photography.  No matter how much automatic control you camera has, you’ll still need to learn the basics of photography.  Actually, once the basics are covered the advanced parts come quite easily.  The biggest roadblock is to get you past the “I’m not a professional” mindset, and into the “I’m a photographer” mindset.

 

Once the basics are covered then we can start specializing in different scenes, or different types of photography.  No matter how much automatic control you camera has, you’ll still need to learn the basics of photography.  Actually, once the basics are covered the advanced parts come quite easily.  The biggest roadblock is to get you past the “I’m not a professional” mindset, and into the “I’m a photographer” mindset.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM @F8 1/100th 50mm ISO 100

 

It’s not as complicated as it might at first seem.  You just need to make that mental commitment that you really will need to master your technology.  You’ll need to develop a deeper understanding of your gear, and the art, than you expected. 

I can promise you this.  Everyone can do it.  It’s not like music where you need a certain part of the brain working a certain way.  Photography is more simple.  You’ll see immediate results.   Each lesson thereafter will bring you more results.  But you’ll need to accept there is a certain amount of learning involved, and a certain amount of practice on your own time, and you must develop an understanding of your gear which goes just a bit deeper than the settings and menus.  And let’s not forget it’s a lot of fun!

 

Until Next Time..

 

I can promise you this.  Everyone can do it.  It’s not like music where you need a certain part of the brain working a certain way.  Photography is more simple.  You’ll see immediate results.   Each lesson thereafter will bring you more results.  But you’ll need to accept there is a certain amount of learning involved, and a certain amount of practice on your own time, and you must develop an understanding of your gear which goes just a bit deeper than the settings and menus.  And let’s not forget it’s a lot of fun!

Canon 1ds Mark II, 85mm F1.2L USM @F5.6 1/60th ISO 50